Friday, 22 August 2014

Spicy Organic Sausage and Mozzarella Baked Spaghetti

Recently on a whim I decided to make a baked spaghetti dish for supper with my dad, using odds n ends up from the fridge, it worked so well – with the spaghetti providing a nice change to usual fusilli or penne that I tend to use in pasta bake and when Sainsbury’s got in touch about creating something with one of their organic hero ingredients I decided to try out their Organic pork sausages in another version of it. To be honest I couldn’t wait to try it again as we enjoyed it so much the first time around and was more than willing to try out an organic version!

Overall I was really impressed with the ingredients – I buy a small amount of organic food, in an ideal world I would probably buy more but it just doesn’t work in our household budget but I managed to make this from mostly organic ingredients for a total of £6.55 to serve 4 comfortably, which I am very happy with! I did however add a bag of salad and made some garlic bread so upped the cost slightly, though that did cover meals for the following day too so was still affordable.

One of my favourite discoveries were the sausages, they were so delicious! Meaty, no gristle or strange goo in the grill tray and a lovely porky flavour. Definitely something affordable at £3 for 6 and when stretched out into a pasta bake it was more than enough for us! The mozzarella too was really tasty, I adore cheese anyway and liked the delicate, milky flavour though would add bigger chunks next time – I think I was too mean chopping it too small it got a little lost in the bed of spaghetti! We all loved the wholewheat spaghetti too, I have been trying to switch to more wholemeal and brown foods to boost nutrition and it worked perfectly in the bake, adding a nice nuttiness to the flavour.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Spicy Chorizo and Egg Fried Wholegrain Rice

Fried rice in some sort of variation is a staple meal in our household. Fitting easily into a busy lifestyle, its also a great way to use up odds and ends from the fridge too! I really hate wasting anything so it’s a perfect mid-week meal and whilst having spare cooked rice is very handy, it also if not properly chilled and stored can harbour bad things that we really don’t need to eat and whilst it’s a bit of a cheat the Veetee rice trays are a great store cupboard standby! Its quick and easy to make a meal using them and most importantly delicious!

Veetee sent me a box full of goodies (along with some stunning rice bowls that have left me coveting the rest of the range, shown in the last image below!) with the challenge to create a meal using either their Wholegrain or Egg Fried rice trays. Brown rice can be somewhat, earthy and rather too wholesome I find but theirs was surprisingly light and very tasty, stir frying in two minutes meant dinner was on the table in under ten minutes! Very welcome after a late afternoon spent baking all sorts ahead of the weekend to be able to produce something tasty and fuss free!

Now its not often I confess that I have bought ready cooked rice, I find rice so simple to cook anyway its really no bother, plus previous ready versions I have found can be a bit unpleasant texture wise and even worse when they have gone cold. However I was very pleased to discover that the Veetee rice tasted just as good as home cooked rice, exactly as it should be. Its also produced safely and so you can trust that the rice is safe to be re-heated. Cooking for yourself is one thing but when serving to friends and family of all ages you have to be certain of these things! I had heard through friends about Veetee's rice products before how good they were, so it was great to get play with them myself!

Spicy Chorizo and Egg Fried Wholegrain Rice

Serves 2
Quick and Easy


1 x Veetee Wholegrain rice tray
60g Chorizo, halved lengthways and sliced ¼ cm pieces
2 Spring onions, finely sliced – separate the greener bits into one pile and whitey bits in another pile
½ orange pepper, chopped finely
1 egg
½ green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp coconut oil

Beat the egg lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper, stir through half the green sliced onion.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan until melted, add the beaten egg quickly swirling around the pan to form a flat thin omelette. Remove onto a chopping board and roll up tightly.

Meanwhile heat the pan with a little more oil if required and stir fry the chorizo slices, spring onion white parts and pepper for 4-5 minutes or until the chorizo has released its lovely oil and the vegetables are lightly browned and stir through the rice and chilli. Heat through, season to taste and toss together for 2-3 minutes and serve in your pretty bowls or one big pasta plate for your man!

Slice the reserved omelette finely and sprinkle over with any remaining spring onion to garnish.

Mr B's serving bowl!

My pretty serving bowl!
As mentioned at the beginning of my post, fried rice is great for using up leftovers and odd's n ends and this took care of two neglected spring onions, half a pack of abandoned chorizo and the last lonely egg from the fridge and so I am sending it over to Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary No Waste Food challenge, held by Laura over at 'I'd much rather bake Than' this month. (You can see my July round-up here).

As my rice dinner was also super quick to prepare and cook, plus it stretches out a small amount of Chorizo, I am also sending it over to this months Credit Crunch Munch, created by Camilla and Helen, and held by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for August.

Many thanks to Gemma and Harriet at Phipps, and to Veetee for my samples.

Disclaimer: The recipe and images remain the property of Anne’s Kitchen and must not be reproduced without written consent. I received no payment and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Speculaas Fruited Bread

Recently I have been playing around with various dough's again. I had fallen out of the habit of making my own bread as I find it quite physical work and with my old joints routinely complaining it had gone on the back burner... however I have been trying new health foods and getting back into a more normal routine and my good friend C was complaining over how her bread had previously come out of the oven fit to tile the roof with, I decided it was time to dust off the dough slicer and get my hands floury again!

We had a lovely afternoon playing around with several different dough's on the go and fortunately C is now converted to home made bread and has made her own since this, with great success! Her only complaint is that the freshly baked smell is somewhat of a lure and magically disappears, I blame fairies personally.... I think with most things you have to get over the fear of things, easier said than done when anxiety follows you like an unwanted shadow but baking is very rewarding and excellent for getting the creative juices flowing and the soul some nourishment!

So whilst the white loaves and rolls were a success, they are not very exciting and whilst C was kneading her dough I decided to crack open a packet of Speculaas Spice mix, which was sent to me recently - it smells a little like what I expect heaven to be like! A fragrant burst of cinnamon, accompanied with fiery ginger notes and earthy cloves, among other secret spices that make me want to use it in pretty much everything I now bake! Its quite addictive to smell! 

Now whilst I had vaguely heard about Speculaas in the form of biscuits whilst on holiday some years back I really didn't know much more than that until Steven, from The Speculaas Spice Company got in touch and offered the chance to try it out. I am all for trying out new herbs and spices, my bursting at the seams cupboards are proof alone that I have a problem addiction to new ones and I really can say I like this stuff a lot! Steven set up the company based on his Dutch grandmothers recipe after moving to UK and craving the favoured biscuits, scented with the sweet Speculaas, and I am jolly glad he did.

When developing this recipe I wasn't too sure how much to use - and erred on the side of caution but next time I would probably just go all out and add a whole tablespoon of the good stuff! I like to stick with a fairly white-ish bread mix with some added wholemeal flour, to add both colour and texture to the dough, plus fooling yourself into thinking its rather healthy, being wholemeal, cough cough.... I made two different shaped breads with the resulting dough, this being the winner upon vigorous taste testing. Its a hard life...

Speculaas Fruited bread
400g white strong flour
80g wholemeal strong flour
7g sachet easy yeast
½ tbsp Speculaas spice mix
320ml warmed milk
20g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
50g dried mixed fruit

2 tbsp milk
1 tsp Speculaas spice mix
1 tbsp Demerara sugar

This makes two loaves/ breads – one to keep, one to freeze unless you are feeding many people, in which case just cook all together.

Grease and line the base of two 8” sandwich tins

Sift together the flours, salt, and spice mix. Combine in a jug the vanilla, warm milk and yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir into the flour mixture until combined and knead for 10 minutes or until soft, smooth and elasticy. Place in a floured bowl and cover, rest in a warm place free from drafts until doubled in size. 

Knock the air out of the dough, halve. Take one half and stretch out into a rectangle about 1 cm deep and roughly A4 in size. Sprinkle over the fruit, allowing an inch from the edges and roll up tightly, a bit like a swiss roll. Then stretch lightly until its sealed and roll gently back and forth until snake like, roll up in a circular method, a bit like a Cumberland sausage and place in the prepared tin, pressing down to fill to the tin edges. Repeat with the remaining dough in the other pan.

Warm the 2 tbsp milk in a small pan and glaze both prepared dough's. Sprinkle over the sugar and spice mix. Allow to prove for a further 20 minutes or until nicely risen.

Bake in a hot oven – about 190o for 25-30 minutes, turn over and tap the bottom – if it sounds hollow its ready! Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Though eaten warm with butter is most advisable.

We were too busy eating it warm to realise I had just this picture!

Disclaimer - I received a sample of Speculaas spice mix and no payment for this recipe and it remains the property of Anne's Kitchen and must not be reproduced without written consent. 
All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

No Waste Food Challenge - The July Round Up!!

The lovely Elizabeth from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary handed over her No Waste Food Challenge reins last month and I have been spoiled by a heavenly looking host of delicious recipes to tempt you all with and most importantly give inspiration so that no food goes to waste! Something I care passionately about and avoid at all costs!

July's challenge opened with my Rocky Road using up lots of neglected ingredients and now I get to share with you all the treats that have been dropping into my inbox!

I have had a whopping 22 fabulous entries into the challenge and discovered along the way a wealth of new food blogs to drool over and some dishes that I had never heard of either! 

So here we go with the round -up!
Kate at Gluten free Alchemist - Date, Apricot & Coconut Flapjack

These wholesome gluten free flapjacks look so gorgeously golden, enriched with an assortment of dried fruits and nuts – they are great for using up any stray ingredients and turning into and making a delicious treat!

Allotment 2 Kitchen - Spiced Coriander and Carrot Hummus

I love hummus at the best of times but Shaheen’s Spiced Coriander and Carrot Hummus really tickles my taste-buds! Its tempting orange hue and whole chickpeas decorate the hummus beautifully!

Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families - Banana Chocolate Chip Swirls

Michelle’s blog features lots of family friendly recipes and she has entered these heavenly looking banana and dark chocolate swirls, we often have leftover bananas and I have a small repitoire of banana recipes so its great to add something a little different to the regular banana bread!

Lancashire Food – SurpriseTurnip Soup

I always think of turnips being a rather unfashionable vegetable but Linzi has given the one she found randomly growing in her garden a lease of life in this creamy looking soup

Camilla has given us her lovely looking rustic Wholemeal Cheddar and Apple Chutney Soda Bread with Cider, which came about from not having any bread in for lunch! Perfect when time is short and it saves you having to venture out!

Chris – Cooking Around The World – Vatapa from Brazil

Vatapa is a completely new dish on me – it heralds from Brazil, very of the moment following the World Cup! This eye catching bowl of spicy, creamy fish with my favourite cashew nuts in looks delicious and salvaged some abandoned red peppers! Chris reminisces about being 20 – golly what a lot of time has passed since I was 20, not sure I would want to be 20 again but would too like the energy of myself back then!

Johanna in Melbourne hosts Green Gourmet Giraffe – Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake

Johanna gave us her intriguing sounding chocolate ring shaped cake using leftover mashed potato, which heralds from her fond childhood memories causing her siblings to shudder in horror! I think it actually looks quite tasty, I use leftover mash in welsh cakes so chocolate cake isn’t really too horrifying!

Onions and paper – Canellini bean hummus

Jane at Onions and Paper gives us our second NWFC Hummus in the form of her creamy looking cannellini bean hummus, topped with fragrant herbs and spices. I often have half a tin of beans going spare so hummus is a great idea to save them from the waste bin!

I must admit ‘Vegetarian Lamb’ is a new one on me but Holly's Slow cooked Vegetarian Lamb and Chinese braised tofu using up leftover veggies does look rustic and tasty!

I’d much rather bake than..Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream

We have another fabulous leftover banana recipe in the form of Laura’s 3 ingredient Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream. I am not a fan of peanut butter on its own but this ice cream sounds delicious!

Onions and Paper – Bottom of fridge Minestrone

Jane has been busy using her leftovers this month and gave us another recipe – this is her bottom of the fridge minestrone using an assortment of odd’s and ends – soup is a great way to give neglected veggies a hearty send off!

Family Friends Food - Courgette and Potato Tortilla

Helen used up some delightful sounding smoky barbecue potatoes in this delicious looking Courgette and Potato Tortilla – I love using up leftovers in these fab Tortilla aka Spanish Omelettes, yum!

I’d much rather bake than..  Double chocolate cake pop truffles

Laura has also been busy in the kitchen and gives us her second NWFC entry in the form of these heavenly Double chocolate cake pop truffles, made from leftover Chocolate Chilli Loaf cake that she had stashed in the freezer. Both the original cake and resulting cake pops look so wonderful and anything bite sized is always a winner!

Johanna in Melbourne hosts Green Gourmet Giraffe - Smoky Cheese and Barley Nut Roast

Johanna celebrated Christmas in July, and made us also her second NWFC entry in the form of a delicious looking Smoky Cheese and Barley Nut Roast, using up leftover seasoned crumbs and cornflakes. I feel I really must give nut roast another try as I’ve only tried it twice and didn’t really like it but Johanna’s looks so tasty it is tempting me!

Helen @ Family Friends Food - Lemon, lavender and almond cake

Wow another repeat offender, hehe only joking – Helen is also working overtime in the kitchen to reduce their waste and baked us a gluten free cake – using some of a neglected bag of potato flour up from Passover, she made an elegant looking Lemon, lavender and almond cake.

Alexandra is a girl after my own heart and thoroughly agrees that ice cream is not just for summer! She baked us Hydrox Cookies and made these glorious Sundaes with Raspberry and Espresso Hot Fudge, admittedly I had no idea what Hydrox meant but Alexandra assures us she didn’t know before either, they are the original Oreo cookie!

We have another banana recipe in ice cream form, yay! Its made by Lou, from Eat Your Veg and its ready in a flash using frozen bananas and a blender! I do like the sneaky malteasers on top too! Banana’s are great to keep stashed in the freezer for quick and tasty desserts! I often keep ripe ones stashed away for banana bread too!
The Lass In The Apron - Molasses Flapjacks

Another repeat offender! Alexandra is clearing out her cupboards in advance of moving house – and continents – and gives us her gorgeously wholesome looking sticky Molasses Flapjacks.

Tales from the Kitchen Shed - Swiss Chard, Mushroom and Potato Frittata

Sarah was spoiled with a basket full of eggs from a kind neighbour and made this delicious Frittata! Eggs are great for making a handful of ingredients into a meal!

Cornish girl Choclette made us a Turkish influenced tofu dish with her home made cocoa laced Dukkah, which she has kept stashed in the freezer since last year!

Madhouse Family Reviews   Corned Beef Rissoles

Mashed potato is a fab leftover ingredient and these corned beef rissoles are a great idea for something different! I can't remember the last time we had corned beef but its always a handy ingredient!

Madhouse Family Reviews - Fruity Summer Rolls

We have another second entry – Fruity summer rolls which use a combination of leftover dried and fresh fruits and rice paper to wrap them in, such a novel idea for a sweet ‘spring roll’!

Wow! I am hungry now after typing all of that up and drooling over your photos! Many thanks to all my wonderful entries!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Sweet Potato falafel with Chorizo Bulgur salad

Now, those who know me on twitter know I had some issues when making these and I apologise if my language went colourful at any point..... Cooked, mashed sweet potato is a blinking nightmare to roll – its best just to use two spoons and hope for the best. However by some miracle these actually came out pretty good and were very tasty. Once I had gotten over my anger and washed my hands of their orange hue I rather enjoyed them both hot for dinner and cold in my lunchbox the following day. The bulgur salad was so tasty, my dad likes to pick me up random ingredients and this was a fine grade of Bulgur, more the size of couscous and it had a very good mouth-feel. Combined with the spicy chorizo and sweet smoky peppers it made a for a very tasty dinner both hot and cold as leftovers.

To bring you up to date with making these falafel, I have history with steamers. A few years back when they became the in thing I purchased one on sale.. and I really hated it! In theory I should of loved it, I love vegetables so much but I could never tell the accurate time on the water display and had to use separate dishes to serve at the table after of course dripping all over my feet or the counter-top’s, creating more mess.. eventually we parted ways and I have not given it a second thought about one since then… 

...roll on a few years later and obviously technology has moved on and a very nice pr lady called Dianne, representing ‘Steama’ asked if I wanted to test it out… I eat fairly healthily but do admit I er fry a lot of veg I.e. courgettes in butter and other nice things, however my health has given me a bit of a tough ride this year and I am keen to mend my naughty ways and try and explore some healthier options so decided to at least give it a try… Steaming the sweet potatoes couldn't of been easier, chopped, chucked in the tray, water bath filled, timer set and 25 minutes lately perfectly steamed sweet potatoes! The machine is rather nifty having both an extra lid and base to fit on the steamer so you can cook extra I.e. for a latter meal and just clip the base and lid on so it doubles up as tupperware! I have used it plenty of times since and its simple to use and produces great results!

For the falafel I loosely based my recipe on a bbc one, which to be honest I looked at after mixing everything and then not being able to work out why I couldn’t roll it and added a little more flour before deciding spoons were the way forward!

450g unpeeled sweet potato, diced into 1 inch chunks
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
85g gram flour

Oven – hot. About 200o.

Start by steaming the potatoes for about 25 minutes, or until tender. 

In the Steama tray
Allow the cooked sweet potato to cool for about 5-10 minutes before mashing. I used my old favourite Masha toy. Stir through the spices and gram flour to form a smooth mixture.

Line and grease a large baking sheet, spoon the mixture onto the tray into golf ball sized lumps. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the outer is set and firm to touch. Meanwhile make the bulgur salad.

Chorizo Bulgur Salad

 300g fine Bulgur Wheat
1 yellow pepper, into 1cm dice
½ red onion, finely sliced
115g cooking chorizo, into 1cm dice
1 chopped tomato
1 tbsp cooking oil
2tsp Harrisa powder

Place the bulgur in a heat proof bowl, cover with 325g boiling water (I weighed it hence not being in ML) and cover tightly, allow to steam for about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and pepper over a moderate heat for 3 minutes, add the chorizo and tomato and fry for a further 4-5 minutes or until everything is nicely browned, combine with the prepared bulgur.

Serve the cooked falafel on a mound of the bulgur salad. A good dollop of yoghurt mint dip is very welcome here!

 Many thanks to Steama for my new steamer toy!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Meal Planning Monday WC: 28/07/14

I am now gently back into the meal planning mode, and most nights its now paying off without having to do much thinking other than on the planning day, a huge relief after days currently spent endlessly filing paperwork! I did try and do most of the meal planning yesterday but after a day  on the sofa procrastinating and watching 7 episodes of 24 back to back I had to re-check it today just to make sure it made sense!

We managed 4 out of the 5 planned meals last week, Wednesday's pork meatloaves became spiced patties instead. Thursdays tuna pasta became mackerel pasta so a minor change really and it used up the packet nearing its end date! 

As ever, its a little subject to change as Tuesday is potentially switching with Wednesdays, as we have enough to stretch the ingredients I bought to 3 people but if my 4th guest decides to reply to my text and is coming, he doesn't like one of the ingredients hence the switcharoo..

When I did the big shop last Friday I bought a pack of Ox heart on a whim, partially because it was extremely good value - £1.04 for 375g and I do try to think one should eat the whole animal, to cut waste.. unfortunately B wasn't so endeared to the idea but bravely managed to eat the sauce, with the Ox bits picked out... I think I will post the recipe up shortly, see what you guys n gals think! The sauce was fantastic so overall a success....!

Ox heart ragu, tagliatelle 
Lamb kofta, spiced sweet potato cubes with, broccoli bulgar salad Mojo dressing, raita 
Prawn and smoked salmon, courgette taglioni 
Fish finger sandwiches, avocado smoosh and mini roast potatoes
Spinach and pine nut gratin 

01 09 10